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As Rome City Schools faculty and staff arrived at the College and Career Academy on Friday, March 12 prepared to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, they were greeted by many masked smiles and a hot cup of Joe, courtesy of Java Joy Rome.

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Java Joy is a program organized by the non-profit Extra Special People (ESP) that spreads unmatched joy through moments of engagement with people of all abilities. According to their website, “Java Joy was born out of the unique ability of people with disabilities to change someone’s day and put a smile on their face, in a way that few others can experience.” 

Rome City Schools Director of Special Education, Kriszti Kilpatrick, invited Java Joy out to celebrate the and recognize the unwavering support from all RCS employees over the past year.

“I actually invited Java Joy out to serve our teachers way before we ever even knew about the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, so it worked out perfectly,” said Kilpatrick.

“I wanted to do something for, not just our special education staff, but for all of our staff here at Rome City Schools. I just appreciate them all so much, they have met the challenges this year, especially with all that has gone on. They have maintained the level of service that our students have needed. I just wanted to show them that we appreciate them.”

Kilpatrick chose to invite Java Joy because of their commitment to embrace all people, no matter their circumstances.

“I chose to use Java Joy because they exemplify what the special education program is here at Rome City Schools, and that is inclusion. Also, several of our former Wolves lend their talents to Java Joy, so I was excited to get to bring them back to Rome High.” said Kilpatrick.

AJ Champion, a Java Joy Joyrista, graduated from Rome High in 2007. Champion loves his job and was beyond excited to serve coffee to the faculty members as they prepared to receive their vaccines.

Another Joyrista, Shawnta Greene, also graduated from Rome High in 2002. Greene was also excited to be back at her old stomping grounds serving smiles to all who visited.

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